What beautiful weather we've been having this week! I went to Castle Beach yesterday with my children after school and we scoffed strawberries so fast there was no time for the sand to ruin them. Lola and I went for a walk across the rockpools while Daisy clambered further up the beach with her friends. After a few minutes pointing out the red enemies (or anemones, as you wish), Lola stretched her arms out like a gymnast. "Look mum," she said, "I've got balance and I'm not going to fall over. Watch!" She hopped over the green and black seaweed-covered rocks, stopping every now and then to repeat "look at my balance!"
Though I was partly watching through my hands, hating the idea of her falling, I realised I was following her with no fear for myself at all. It was quite a contrast from the way I'd felt about those rocks two years ago, when I was recovering from my mastectomy and reconstruction. We'd gone rockpooling, and it was my husband who followed the children skipping over the rocks. I was so petrified that I stood well back on the firm sand and watched, wringing my hands. I was afraid I would deepen the slow-healing wound on my back and ravage the webbed, puckered scar in the front.
Everything I did (or didn't do) revolved around fear at that time. I couldn't bring myself to step among the rock pools, and neither could I pick up my children, carry the shopping, or bend over the bath and wash my own hair. I couldn't trust in my balance at all. I'd spent months dealing with surgical wounds and scars that wouldn't bloody heal. I was petrified that my body would split open again if I so much as looked at a rock. Now, I realise, I've reached a point where I've healed, my body is whole again, and I'm only as frail as anybody else out on the rocks. There is no extreme wound to pinpoint or analyse or worry about. If I slip, so what? Like Lola says. I've got balance, and I'm not going to fall over. So there.